To improve higher education, we should have different schools for two different styles of learning:

1) Get a job: Earn a living so you can support your family

2) Live a meaningful life: Give students a space to think and learn about themselves, away from the demands of work
Broadly, American colleges were built to give students a place to intellectually explore.

But recently, we’ve asked them to pivot into vocational training — which isn’t what they’re designed for. Now, we’re stuck with a vocational system that takes way longer than it should.
To their credit, colleges have been doubling down on technical training in response to student demands.

Something clearly changed after the Financial Crisis. Since 2008, students have opted out of Liberal Arts majors and moved towards vocational ones instead.
The trend towards vocational education is just as sharp at Ivy League schools.

So now, they’re in a Catch 22.

They can respond to student wants and compete with all the new vocational schools. Or they can double-down on their comparative advantage at the risk of falling demand.
“What’s the point?”

We’re still in the early stages of using the Internet to rebuild education.

Right now, we’re focused on vocational training. But we need schools that give us space to explore the soul and wrestle with the weight of our shared humanity.
Both Vocational education and Liberal Arts education are limited by the way we conflate the two.

Vocational training is too expensive and too time-consuming. Meanwhile, the Liberal Arts isn’t nearly as enjoyable as it should be. We should study it as an end in itself. No grades!
We’ve made virtually no progress on formal Liberal Arts training in the past 100 years.

But the success of philosophy focused YouTube channels reveals that people are hungry for the Liberal Arts, even if the return-on-investment is measured not in cash, but units of fulfillment.

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More from @david_perell

23 Mar
Kendrick Lamar one of the world's best writers.

His recent album, Damn, won a Grammy and a Pulitzer-Prize award. His writing is propelled by a note-taking system that helps him capturing the ideas behind his lyrics.

Here's what you can learn from his note-taking system.
1. Note-taking is the closest thing we have to time-travel.

By taking notes, Kendrick conserves precious ideas, develops them over time, and eventually turns them into art. Taking notes doesn't just help him save ideas. It helps him return to a different state of consciousness.
2. Start taking notes early, so you can build upon the ideas over time.

Kendrick was a shy middle schooler who sometimes spoke with a stutter. Frustrated, he turned to the written word. He scribbled rap lyrics on notebook paper instead of finishing assignments for other classes.
Read 12 tweets
23 Mar
Creatives have two kinds of working:

1) Beer mode: A state of unfocused play where you discover new ideas.

2) Coffee mode: A state of focused work where you grind towards a specific outcome.

You find ideas in Beer mode and implement them in Coffee mode.
“We get our ideas from our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, If you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls you’re not going to have any creative ideas.”

— John Cleese
The problem with traditional productivity advice is that it doesn’t take beer mode seriously.

Standard tropes like turn off the Internet, tune out distractions, and turn towards your goals are examples of coffee mode thinking. But most creative ideas are born in Beer mode.
Read 6 tweets
16 Mar
Creators should have a visual trademark.

With the world becoming so visual, a distinct style is one of the easiest ways to stand out.

Here’s a thread of people to inspire you.

1. Wes Anderson: Pastel colors with vintage shades that look like they should be a poster.
2. Casey Neistat

With close up shots, messy handwriting, simple fonts, time lapses, drone shots, and symmetrical shots that are inspired by Wes Anderson, @Casey uses aesthetics to invite viewers into his life and make them feel like a friend.
3. Tim Urban

I’m drawn to creatives who give their audiences two opposing emotions. @waitbutwhy pairs the intensity of learning with the playfulness of humor.

His stick-figure drawings are instantly recognizable because they’re so distinct.
Read 9 tweets
15 Mar
NFTs will make creators care less about raw follower counts and more about the earning power of an online audience
The Internet economy has been over-indexed on follower counts for way too long. Once you start building an online business, you see how it can be a red herring.

The important things are much harder to measure: purchasing power and die-hard fandom.

NFTs create better incentives.
Just as incentives will determine the behavior of individuals in a group, the metrics you choose for your creativity will subliminally shape your output.

An Internet with clear metrics beyond page views and engagement rate is an Internet with wonkier creators.
Read 4 tweets
13 Mar
My favorite online creators are wonky.

They nerd out and produce things that nobody else could produce. Christopher Nolan is my favorite example, so I geeked out on his creative process to see how he made movies like Inception, Interstellar, and The Dark Knight.
Nolan's movies have grossed more than $5 billion.

Fans praise of his illustrious mastery of visual effects, beautiful establishing shots, epic soundtracks, and gripping action sequences.

This video outlines his creative process.

Wonkiness is an algorithm for fresh ideas.

Wonky people have an enthusiastic interest in the specialized details of their domain, and they ignore the social incentives that shame people for being different.

Here's my mini-essay. ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
2 Mar
My new essay is live!

Here’s the premise: America has become a Microwave Economy. We’ve overwhelmingly used our wealth to make the world cheaper instead of more beautiful, more functional instead of more meaningful.

It’s time to start prizing the soul.…
Microwave meals reflect a scary possible future: one that aims to distill the complexities of human nutrition into a scalable scientific formula, with lab-created foods that can be consumed in seconds, and where the negative externalities are unrecognized and unaccounted for.
The world loses its soul when we place too much weight on quantification.

When we do, we stop valuing what we know to be true, but can’t articulate. Rituals lose their significance, possessions lose their meaning, and things are valued only for their apparent utility.
Read 6 tweets

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